US accepts some blame for Nato strike that killed Pakistani troops

Hopes of easing fraught diplomatic relations come as Islamabad faces fresh political crisis

A lack of trust, poor coordination and inaccurate maps were responsible for the Nato strike that left 24 Pakistani troops dead and relations between Washington and Islamabad at a new low, a Pentagon investigation concludes.

While placing blame on both sides, the US report apparently accepts that American and Afghan commandos were wrong when they concluded there were no Pakistani troops in the area where they were conducting an operation.

When the troops came under fire, they called in an airstrike from F-15 fighter bombers, Apache attack helicopters and an AC-130 Spectre gunship, believing they were being attacked by militants. It remains unclear why Pakistani forces fired at the Americans and Afghans, though they too may have believed they were being approached by Taliban fighters. The report, which it is hoped will allow for improved relations between the two countries, says US and Afghan forces acted in self-defence.

"Inadequate coordination by US and Pakistani military officers operating through the border coordination centre – including our reliance on incorrect mapping information shared with the Pakistani liaison officer – resulted in a misunderstanding about the true location of Pakistani military units," said a statement released in Washington.

The attack on 26 November triggered outrage in Pakistan and led the authorities to close its border with Afghanistan to Nato trucks, and to refuse to participate in an international conference about the future of Afghanistan. The US was also ordered to leave the Shamsi airbase in the far south-west of Pakistan, a site reportedly used to maintain drones used to attack suspected militants.

Last night, there was no official response from the Pakistani authorities to the report, due to be passed to US politicians today, but some analysts said they believed the US's acceptance of at least some responsibility could help ease tensions. "To the extent that they have accepted responsibility, that will help to bring a thaw in relations," said retired General Talat Masood. "I think both countries need each other. The marriage is going through a bad patch, but they are trying to stick together."

The report comes at a time of fresh crisis for Pakistan, with its civilian government locked in dispute with the powerful military over the ramifications of a now notorious memo.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani warned there were plots to undermine the government. "I want to make it clear today that conspiracies are being hatched here to pack up the elected government," he said as he delivered strongly-worded rebukes, firstly to unidentified persons he said were trying to undermine the elected government, and later to the military.

Referring to testimony delivered to the Supreme Court by the ministry of defence that it did not exercise operational control over the armed forces, he said: "If they say that they are not under the ministry of defence, then we should get out of this slavery, then this parliament has no importance, this system has no importance, then you are not sovereign. Nobody is above the law, all the institutions are subservient to the parliament... They have to be answerable to this parliament. They cannot be a state within a state."

Mr Gilani's comments underscore growing frustration with the military. Last week, the prime minister rejected the notion that there was bad blood between the civilian leadership and the armed forces, headed by Gen Ashfaq Kayani. In the aftermath of the May raid by US forces that killed Osama bin Laden and deeply embarrassed Pakistan's armed forces, Mr Gilani spoke out in support of the military.

Earlier this year, Pakistan-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz claimed in a newspaper article that he had been asked to pass on a message to the US military, asking for help to rein in Pakistani generals after the attack that killed Bin Laden. Mr Ijaz claimed Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's ambassador in Washington, had asked for his help.

The controversy has already claimed the scalp of Mr Haqqani, forced out, apparently at the insistence of the military even though he denied involvement.

It also threatens President Asif Ali Zardari, who yesterday returned to Islamabad after recuperating from a mini-stroke. At the request of opposition politician Nawaz Sharif, the Supreme Court has launched an investigation into so-called Memogate. The army has denied it was ever planning a coup against the civilian government.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
books
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, RSPSS, R, AI, CPLEX, SQL)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Chosen to lead the women's wing of the ruling Zanu-PF, the wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding the 90-year old
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model of a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution